: a passage (as in a theater or railroad passenger car) separating sections of seats
: such a passage regarded as separating opposing parties in a legislature
supported by members on both sides of the aisle
: a passage (as in a store or warehouse) for inside traffic
: the side of a church nave separated by piers from the nave proper
walk down the aisle or less commonly go down the aisle
: to get married
Prenuptial agreements have long been used by couples who want to set down the terms of any future divorce before they walk down the aisle.Desa Philadelpha

Examples of aisle in a Sentence

The bride walked down the aisle to the altar. By the end of the concert, the people in the theater were dancing in the aisles.
Recent Examples on the Web Bareilles and Joe Tippett, who both appear in the limited theatrical run of the movie 'Waitress: The Musical,' got engaged nearly a year ago Sara Bareilles and her fiancé, actor Joe Tippett, aren’t rushing down the aisle. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 29 Nov. 2023 Available by the bushel, bag, or bulb, many types of onions are among the most affordable, sturdy, and versatile stars of the produce aisle. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Nov. 2023 After the 2015 attack rattled South Carolina, Ms. Haley seized on the newfound political will among state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Jazmine Ulloa, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2023 Such spending, while cautious, came despite higher prices in the grocery aisle and higher borrowing costs. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 24 Nov. 2023 These are the mushrooms sold as tinctures, soft gels and powders in the supplements aisle. Robert Johnson, Rolling Stone, 22 Nov. 2023 The planes will be fitted with United’s beloved business class, Polaris, which features lie-flat seats all with direct aisle access and Saks Fifth Avenue bedding—an enticing perk on these long-haul flights that can stretch up to 17 or 18 hours. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, 21 Nov. 2023 Retailers like Nordstrom and Net-A-Porter have a few noteworthy Skims sales in their virtual aisles worth browsing. Don't miss the next big beauty sale. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 21 Nov. 2023 And so, in the new year, the tastemakers will be giving us food that's healthier and better for the planet; more Mexican and Asian food; and, according to Nielsen IQ's Sherry Frey, more pumpkin spice, which can be found in products throughout the aisles. David Pogue, CBS News, 19 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aisle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English ele, eill, ile, ilde "lateral division of a church on either side of the nave, usually divided from the nave by pillars," borrowed from Anglo-French ele, esle, aile, ile "wing, wing of a building, lateral division of a nave" (continental Old French ele "wing, wing of a building"), going back to Latin āla "wing" — more at ala

Note: The Middle English forms ile, ilde show assimilation to ile, ilde "island" (see isle entry 1)—the rows on either side of the nave perhaps being thought of as isolated from the rest of the church—and effectively supplant ele, eill, etc. in the sixteenth century. The d in ilde is a secondary extrusion (compare mold entry 3). In early Modern English ile competes orthographically with a variety of other spellings, as ayle/aile, which appears to have regressed to the sense "wing" and adopted the Middle French spelling aile, an etymologizing variant of earlier ele; and isle, which copies the spelling of isle entry 1. The now standard spelling aisle looks like a merger of aile and isle. Samuel Johnson enters aisle in his dictionary (1755) with some reluctance: "Thus the word is written by [Joseph] Addison, but perhaps improperly; since it seems deducible only from either aile, a wing, or allée, a path; and is therefore to be written aile." As Johnson was likely aware, aisle had developed a broadened sense "passage between pews in the middle of a church" that copies a now out-of-use sense of alley entry 1. The still broader extensions "passage between seats in a train, bus or airplane" and "space between rows of items in a department store or supermarket" first appeared in American English.

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of aisle was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near aisle

Cite this Entry

“Aisle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aisle. Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a passage between sections of seats (as in a church or theater)
: a passage between shelves (as in a store)

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